King Charles and Edward Snowden: Unpatriotic or Revolutionary?

“The King’s Cabinet Opened,”or more directly named, “Certain Packets of Secret Letters and Papers Written with the Kings own Hand and taken in his Cabinet at Nasby-Field, June 14 1645,” written by Victorious St. Thomas Fairfax, leaves little to the reader’s imagination with its descriptive title and author (source of publication rather). The letters of correspondence between King Charles and confidants were confiscated by the troops of St. Thomas Fairfax after the royalist defeat at the Battle of Nasby. The letters were then compiled and released to the public as “The King’s Cabinet Opened,” a controversial “tell-all” of sorts. The preface to the work states its purpose; to expose the goings-on and scandalous sharing of information by King Charles and to “encourage” others to believe he was in the wrong. It states: “Nor dare we smother this light under a bushel, but freely hold it out to our seduced brethren; for so, in the spirit of meekness, laboring to reclaim them, we still speak, that they may see their errors, and return to the right way” (The King’s).

I will explain in detail the content of Letter III from “The King’s Cabinet Opened.” In this letter King Charles I (monarch of England Scotland and Ireland from 1625-1649), is writing to his wife Queen Henrietta Maria of France concerning Nicholas Francis, Duke of Lorraine. The King wish for Henrietta to grant the Duke passage through France, believing this rout will be “found the best, there being not so many places to choose on, anywhere else” (The King’s). King Charles refers to Henrietta as “Dear Heart,” and indicates his longing to see her. In relation to the Duke, he tells Henrietta that the request to have the Duke pass through France because it would be “easier” all around is “an opinion, not a direction” (The King’s). Though the familiarity and respect the King shows his queen would probably be enough to deem this letter scandalous, the King also confides a few details about his current state in battle. Then, King Charles pretty much asks the Queen’s permission to grant titles to certain men.

There are two huge reasons that King Charles’ sharing of information as well as respect shown to his wife were so controversial. Firstly, Queen Henrietta was a French Catholic, a mix not well looked upon by Charles’ people. Secondly, the King and supposed “ultimate ruler” was giving a huge amount of respect and responsibility to a woman. The people saw this sharing of information and power as treason to their kingdoms. Some may say that Charles was even “punting” his responsibilities away to be fulfilled by a less-qualified person.

To relate controversy in “The King’s Cabinet” to a current issue of “treason” a parallel can be drawn with the Edward Snowden case. Edward Snowden, a man sworn to protect information concerning the National Security Agency, released information about government surveillance programs to the public. In two articles of contrasting opinion, one from The New Yorker and one from The New York Times, the “good” and the “bad” sides to what Snowden did are weighed. I believe that the tone of “The King’s Cabinet” is similar to the tone of the New Yorker article “Edward Snowden’s Real Impact.” Snowden, not unlike King Charles, is portrayed as having betrayed his country. Snowden’s logic is somewhat compared to murder when article writer Jeffrey Toobin says:

The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men? Of course not. That’s lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden.                       (Edward Snowden’s)

The conflict of man vs. country runs through both of these writings/situations. Though the conflict was and is still very real, the intentions of the accused, (King Charles and Edward Snowden respectively) are debatably good or evil. Patriotism is an ideology in jeopardy in both circumstances. In the case of King Charles, giving a French Catholic woman the reigns in a protestant/English nation makes King Charles seem to be in favor of the French, and against his own people. As for Snowden, exposing national secrets that would/did certainly make the government look bad and secretive was arguably anti-American. I think that in both the cases of Charles and Snowden, one must determine whether the convicted are as guilty as they are made out to be.

The King’s Cabinet

https://engl382fall2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/the-kings-cabinet-opened.pdf

 

Edward Snowden’s Real Impact

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/08/edward-snowdens-real-impact.html

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